How To Stream On TV That Is Not a Smart TV


If you ever happen to be in a situation to stream on a non-smart TV, the first question you will probably ask yourself is how to stream on TV that is not a smart TV.

Streaming on a non-smart TV is possible, but the type of user experience you will have hugely depends on the variety of connection ports that are built into the TV. For example, if your old TV has an HDMI connection port, then you will be able to stream your favorite shows or to watch regular television in a very seamless way. This is achievable because most of today’s streaming devices like Chromecast, Roku streaming stick, Amazon Fire TV stick, Nvidia Shield TV, Apple TV, and others, use HDMI as the standard connection type. On the other side, these streaming devices need to be connected to the Internet where they pull the content from respective sources.

Having a TV with an HDMI port and a streaming device of your choice is the best and most efficient way to turn your TV into a smart TV.

Connection ports located on the rear side of a common TV

How to Stream on Non Smart TV Using a Streaming Device

If you already own a streaming device like Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire StickOpens in a new tab., RokuOpens in a new tab., etc., then the only thing you need to do is to check whether your old TV has an HDMI port, so you can plug the streaming device in the TV. Most popular streaming devices have an HDMI as a standard connection port.

If you are doing this for the first time, then follow the user manual to understand how to install the streaming device on your TV, get them connected on the Internet, etc.

Streaming devices come with thousands of pre-installed apps including YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, sports channels, and many others.

How to Connect Non-Smart TV to WIFI

Essentially, you don’t need to connect your non-smart TV to WIFI in order to do the streaming. This is because your old TV does not come pre-installed with the most popular apps like YouTube, Netflix, etc, therefore the Internet is not required for the TV itself.

What you actually need to be connected to the Internet is the streaming device that you will plug into the TV’s HDMI port, such as Google Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV stick, or any other of that kind. These streaming devices act as a bridge between your old TV and the TV shows you want to watch.

If you are at home, then you will need to connect the streaming device to your home WIFI. See the user manual how to do this.

In case you don’t have a WIFI at the place you want to stream to the old TV, alternative way is to configure your mobile phone as a hotspot and connect the streaming device to it. Please note that mobile data rates apply for this.

How to Stream on Non Smart TV Using a Laptop

One of the simplest ways to stream on non smart TV is by connecting your TV with a laptop. Having a laptop connected to your TV gives you endless possibilities. This means that you can play everything on your TV. Whether it would be content from YouTube, Netflix, downloaded movies or documentaries, slideshows, literally everything.

The first step is to have the right cable to connect both devices. Most of the laptop models today have an HDMI port. Check your TV on the rear side for the available connection ports. If your TV has at least one HDMI port, then you are good to go. You only need one common HDMI cableOpens in a new tab. that you can obtain from Amazon for a very affordable price.

If your old TV does not have an HDMI port, then look for other types of connections such as SCART or Component Video connection. You will need appropriate HDMI-to-SCART and HDMI-to-Component adapters respectively, so you can connect the laptop with the TV.

In case you have an older laptop that comes without an HDMI port, you can consider buying an HDMI adapterOpens in a new tab. that could help you to hook up your TV to the laptop through a USB port instead. Check the appropriate model on Amazon that is compatible with both Windows and Macs. Click this linkOpens in a new tab. to check the latest price.

How to Stream on Non Smart TV Using a Smartphone

There isn’t a single approach on how to stream to an old TV using a mobile phone. It all depends on what you have at your hand, in terms of cables, streaming devices, etc.

Here are couple of scenarios:

Connect the mobile phone to the old TV with cable

Connect the mobile phone to the old TV without cable

The best way to connect a mobile phone to an old TV wirelessly is with casting devices such as Google ChromecastOpens in a new tab.. This is a very clean solution and the only prerequisites are to have a TV with HDMI connection and WIFI network to connect the Chromecast to the Internet.

You will only need to install the Google Home app from the appropriate store (Play Store linkOpens in a new tab. | AppStore linkOpens in a new tab.) and then further launch the cast-enabled app on your smartphone. Start casting on your old TV by pressing the cast button on your mobile phone.

Google Chromecast 3rd generation

A cheaper alternative to Chromecast is MiraScreenOpens in a new tab.. MiraScreen is a WIFI dongle and is compatible with Android, iOS, MAC, Windows. You may check the price and full specification on AmazonOpens in a new tab..

How to Get Netflix on Non Smart TV

If you already have active subscription then there are couple of options to stream Netflix on your old TV:

  • You may use your laptop. Refer to this section where it is explained how to connect your old TV with a laptop.
  • You may use a streaming device. Go to this section where it is explained how to connect a streaming device with an old TV.
  • You may use your smartphone. Go to this section where it is explained how to stream on old TV with a mobile phone.

How to Stream Netflix on old TV with no HDMI port

If your old TV does not have an HDMI port, then there are couple of options:

  1. If your old TV has a Component Video Audio connection, then you will only need the appropriate HDMI to Composite Video Audio Converter Adapter that will help you connect your streaming device with your non-smart TV. You may check the latest price of this adapter on Amazon, by following this linkOpens in a new tab.. By the way, most old TVs do have this connection type.
  2. If your old TV has only a SCART connection, then you will need an HDMI-to-SCART adapter. Beware that you need the HDMI-to-SCART, not the opposite SCART-to-HDMI. I wasn’t able to find some decent hardware on Amazon at the moment of writing this post, however, there are many offerings on AliExpressOpens in a new tab. for this adapter type.

All in all, after you figure out the available connection ports on your TV and how to transform the signal into HDMI, the rest is easy. There is a variety of options: Streaming from a smartphone, streaming from streaming devices like Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire stick, etc.

How to Watch YouTube on Non Smart TV

The first thing you need to do is to figure out what connection ports your TV has on the rear side.

If your non smart TV has at least one HDMI port then there are couple of options:

A popular option to watch YouTube on your old TV is by taking advantage of streaming devices such as Chromecast, Roku Streaming stickOpens in a new tab., Amazon Fire stickOpens in a new tab., Apple TV, etc. These streaming devices come with YouTube as a preinstalled application. You just plug the streaming device in the HDMI port on your TV, then follow the user manual to initialize the device which is a very quick and straight forward process. After the installation is done, you launch the YouTube app and watch as you usually do on a computer.

Another option to watch YouTube on non smart TV is to connect your old TV with your laptop or mobile phone with HDMI cable. Click here to read the instructions on how to connect the laptop to your TV, and for connecting your TV with your mobile phone you can read the instructions on this link.

If your non smart TV is older generation and does not have an HDMI port, then you will need to use an appropriate adapter. The adapter type you will need depends on the available connection ports on your TV. Click here to read instructions where I explain how to transform the output signal into HDMI.

Milan Mihajlov

Professional Software Tester. Previously IT Specialist and Sys Admin helping many companies to improve their IT infrastructure, IT management and Help Desk.

9 thoughts on “How To Stream On TV That Is Not a Smart TV

  1. You can also use a Xbox 360 Xbox one or the newest Xbox. You can play movies from the pc stream to the Xbox. I just bought a 15 ft. HDMI cable on eBay cheap and connected my desktop pc to my tv and its a media powerhouse. I had to buy an HDMI with extra ports so I had more, my tv only had one .

    1. I have a mxq pro 4 k Android box but it is not working.could you tell me what may be the problem

  2. I have X Box 360 and have used it for 8 years for streaming – Router died, got new one and it will not communicate with X Box 360????? Why? Tried everything.

    1. Maybe check network settings in your X Box 360. If it has some static configuration with settings from the old router, then this may be one of the reasons. Check you XBox and make sure the DHCP option is enabled in the Network settings.

  3. I have a MacBook Air and an older Panasonic Plasma tv with three HDMI ports. (Not a smart tv). I purchased a USB to HDMI cord from Amazon. I tried to watch a movie from Paramount+. My tv would not accept the signal. I tried all three HDMI ports. I even called Apple and after they looked at my setup said it was the tv. Can you help me?

    1. Hi,
      I believe this is because the screen resolution on your MacBook Air is way bigger than your plasma tv can accept. Try to decrease the resolution on your Mac

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